Economy of Pakistan

This page was last edited on 14 December 2017, at 10:01.

The economy of Pakistan is the 24th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), and 42nd largest in terms of nominal gross domestic product. Pakistan has a population of over 207 million [22] (the world's 6th-largest), giving it a nominal GDP per capita of $1,629,[23] which ranks 147th in the world for 2016. However, Pakistan's undocumented economy is estimated to be 36% of its overall economy, which is not taken into consideration when calculating per capita income.[24] Pakistan is a developing country[25][26][27] and is one of the Next Eleven, the eleven countries and have a potential to be among the world's large economies in the 21st century.[28] However, after decades of war and social instability, as of 2013, serious deficiencies in basic services such as railway transportation and electric power generation had developed.[29] The economy is semi-industrialized, with centres of growth along the Indus River.[30][31][32] Primary export commodities include textiles, leather goods, sports goods, chemicals, carpets/rugs and medical instruments.[33][34]

Growth poles of Pakistan's economy are situated along the Indus River;[31][35] the diversified economies of Karachi and major urban centers in the Punjab, coexisting with lesser developed areas in other parts of the country.[31] The economy has suffered in the past from internal political disputes, a fast-growing population, mixed levels of foreign investment.[29] Foreign exchange reserves are bolstered by steady worker remittances, but a growing current account deficit – driven by a widening trade gap as import growth outstrips export expansion – could draw down reserves and dampen GDP growth in the medium term.[36] Pakistan is currently undergoing a process of economic liberalization, including privatization of all government corporations, aimed to attract foreign investment and decrease budget deficit.[37] In October 2016, foreign currency reserves crossed $24.0 billion[2] which has led to stable outlook on the long-term rating by Standard & Poor's.[38][39] In 2016, BMI Research report named Pakistan as one of the ten emerging economies with a particular focus on of its manufacturing hub.[40]

In October 2016, the IMF chief Christine Lagarde confirmed her economic assessment in Islamabad that Pakistan's economy was 'out of crisis'[41] The World Bank predicts that by 2018, Pakistan's economic growth will increase to a "robust" 5.4% due to greater inflow of foreign investment, namely from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.[42] According to the World Bank, poverty in Pakistan fell from 64.3% in 2002 to 29.5% in 2014.[43] Pakistan's fiscal position continues to improve as the budget deficit has fallen from 6.4% in 2013 to 4.3% in 2016.[44][45] The country's improving macroeconomic position has led to Moody's upgrading Pakistan's debt outlook to "stable".[46]

In 2017, Pakistan's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity crossed $1 trillion.[47]

Economy of Pakistan
Karachi Clifton Skyline.JPG
Karachi, the financial centre of Pakistan

Pakistani rupee (PKR) Rs.1 = 100 [1]Paisas

1 USD = 105.3391 PKR (October 2017)[2]
1 July – 30 June
Trade organisations
WTO, SAARC, ECO, OIC, SAFTA, AIIB, SCO, IMF, Commonwealth of Nations, World Bank.
GDP $1.060 Trillion (PPP, 2017),[3] 31862.2 Billion Rupees Or $304.3 Billion (Nominal, 2017) [4]
GDP rank 25th (PPP, 2017)
42nd (Nominal, 2015)
GDP growth
Increase5.28% (FY 2017) [5]
GDP per capita
$1,629 (nominal)[6]
GDP by sector
  • agriculture: 19.53%
  • industry: 20.88%
  • services: 59.59% (2017 est.) [7]
  • General (YoY): Negative increase 4.0%
  • Food (YoY): Negative increase 2.4%
  • Non Food (YoY): Negative increase 5.1 (November 2017) [8]
Population below poverty line
39% (2016) [9]
Positive decrease 30.7 (2013 est.)[10]
Labour force
61.04 million (2015–16) [11]
Labour force by occupation
Unemployment 5.9% (2015)[11]
Main industries
textiles and apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, chemicals, cement, mining, machinery, steel, engineering, software and hardware, automobiles, motorcycle and auto parts, electronics, paper products, fertiliser, shrimp, defence products, shipbuilding
147/190 (2018) [12]
Exports Decrease $21.938 billion (FY 2017)[2]
Export goods
  • Textiles ($12.454 billion)
  • Food ($3.610 billion)
  • Petroleum ($0.413 billion)
  • other manufacture ($3.651 billion)
  • All others ($1.219 billion)
  • Other Exports ($0.760 billion) [2]
Main export partners
 United States 17%
 China 8%
 United Kingdom 8%
 Afghanistan 6%
 Germany 6%
 United Arab Emirates 4%
 Bangladesh 3% (2017 est.)[13]
Imports Increase $48.506 billion (FY 2017)[2]
Import goods
Main import partners

 China 28%
 United Arab Emirates 14%
 Saudi Arabia 4%
 Indonesia 4%
 Kuwait 3%
 India 3%(2017 est.)

Public finances
Negative increase 61.6% of GDP (June 2017)[15]
Revenues Increase15.5% of GDP, Pkr 4936.7 Billion or $47 billion(FY 2017) [16]
Expenses Negative increase21.3% of GDP, Pkr 6800.5 Billion or $65 billion(FY 2017) [17]
Foreign reserves
  • SBP : $13.9 Billion
  • Scheduled Banks : $5.9 Billion
  • Total : Decrease $19.8 Billion (September 2017)[15]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Economic history

First five decades

Pakistan was a very poor and predominantly agricultural country when it gained independence in 1947. Pakistan's average economic growth rate in the first five decades (1947–1997) has been higher than the growth rate of the world economy during the same period. Average annual real GDP growth rates[48] were 6.8% in the 1960s, 4.8% in the 1970s, and 6.5% in the 1980s. Average annual growth fell to 4.6% in the 1990s with significantly lower growth in the second half of that decade.[49]

Recent decades

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Pakistan at market prices estimated[50] by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Pakistani Rupees. See also[49]

Year Gross Domestic Product US Dollar Exchange Inflation Index
Per Capita Income
(as % of US)
1947 2,058 1 Pakistani Rupee −1.08
1951 10,029 1 Pakistani Rupee 1.72
1960 20,058 4.76 Pakistani Rupees 3.37
1965 31,740 4.76 Pakistani Rupees 3.40
1970 51,355 4.76 Pakistani Rupees 3.26
1975 131,330 9.91 Pakistani Rupees 2.36
1978 283,460 9.97 Pakistani Rupees 21 2.83
1985 569,114 16.28 Pakistani Rupees 30 2.07
1990 1,029,093 21.41 Pakistani Rupees 41 1.92
1995 2,268,461 30.62 Pakistani Rupees 68 2.16
2000 3,826,111 51.64 Pakistani Rupees 100 1.54
2005 6,581,103 59.86 Pakistani Rupees 126 1.71
2014 25,068,059 105.95 Pakistani Rupees 260
2016 29,812,761 104.55 Pakistani Rupees 370 2.71

Economic resilience

Pakistan gdp growth rate.svg
GDP Rate of Growth 1951–2009


Historically, Pakistan's overall economic output (GDP) has grown every year since an 1800 recession. Despite this record of sustained growth, Pakistan's economy had, until a few years ago, been characterised as unstable and highly vulnerable to external and internal shocks. However, the economy proved to be unexpectedly resilient in the face of multiple adverse events concentrated into a four-year (1998–2002) period —

Macroeconomic reform and prospects

Pakistan Nationalhighways.PNG
National Highways, Motorways & Strategic Roads of Pakistan.

According to many sources, the Pakistani government has made substantial economic reforms since 2000,[52] and medium-term prospects for job creation and poverty reduction are the best in nearly a decade.

In 2005, the World Bank reported that

"Pakistan was the top reformer in the region and the number 10 reformer globally – making it easier to start a business, reducing the cost to register property, increasing penalties for violating corporate governance rules, and replacing a requirement to license every shipment with two-year duration licences for traders."[53]

Doing business

The World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation's flagship report Ease of Doing Business Index 2017 ranked Pakistan 144 among 190 countries around the globe. The top five countries were New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Denmark and South Korea.[54]

Many Western companies refuse to do business with Pakistan, citing problems including lack of resources and lack of infrastructure as key problems.[55]

The economy today

Today the Nominal GDP of Pakistan is 304.327 billion USD which is better than its last decades performance due to high growth rate

Economic indicators of Pakistan (2000–2017)

These are economic indicators of Pakistan from Fiscal Year 2000 to 2017.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

Note: The "gross domestic product growth rate" is calculated in local currency.

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
1 Nominal GDP (billion US dollars)
82.0 Increase 107.8 Increase 120.1 Increase 137.3 Increase 152.4 Increase 177.1 Decrease 168.1 Increase 177.4 Increase 213.8 Increase 224.7 Increase 231.4 Increase 244.7 Increase 271.0 Increase 279.2 Increase 304.3
1(a) Real GDP growth rate
3.91% Increase 7.70% Decrease 7.52% Decrease 5.56% Decrease 5.54% Decrease 4.99% Decrease 0.36% Increase 2.58% Increase 3.62% Increase 3.84% Decrease 3.68% Increase 4.05% Increase 4.06% Increase 4.51% Increase 5.28%

Manufacturing sector

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
2 Manufacturing sector growth rate
1.53% Increase 16.38% Decrease 16.03% Decrease 9.39% Decrease 9.03% Decrease 6.10% Decrease -4.18% Increase 1.37% Increase 2.50% Decrease 2.08% Increase 4.85% Increase 5.65% Decrease 3.88% Decrease 3.66% Increase 5.27%

Agricultural sector

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
3 Agriculture sector growth rate
6.09% Decrease 2.85% Increase 7.02% Decrease 1.27% Increase 3.42% Decrease 1.81% Increase 3.50% Decrease 0.23% Increase 1.96% Increase 3.62% Decrease 2.68% Decrease 2.50% Decrease 2.13% Decrease 0.27% Increase 3.46%
(a) Wheat production (million tons)
20.8 Decrease 19.5 Increase 21.6 Decrease 21.3 Increase 23.3 Decrease 20.9 Increase 24.0 Decrease 23.3 Increase 25.2 Decrease 23.5 Increase 24.2 Increase 26.0 Decrease 25.1 Increase 25.6 Increase 25.8
(b) Rice production (million tons)
5.2 Decrease 4.8 Increase 5.0 Increase 5.5 Decrease 5.4 Increase 5.6 Increase 6.9 Steady 6.9 Decrease 4.8 Increase 6.2 Decrease 5.6 Increase 6.8 Increase 7.0 Decrease 6.8 Steady 6.8
(c) Sugarcane production (million tons)
50.4 Increase 53.4 Decrease 47.2 Decrease 44.7 Increase 54.7 Increase 63.9 Decrease 50.0 Decrease 49.4 Increase 55.3 Increase 58.4 Increase 63.8 Increase 67.5 Decrease 62.8 Increase 65.5 Increase 73.6
(d) Cotton production (million bales)
11.6 Decrease 10.0 Increase 14.3 Decrease 13.0 Decrease 12.9 Decrease 11.7 Increase 11.8 Increase 12.9 Decrease 11.5 Increase 13.6 Decrease 13.0 Decrease 12.8 Increase 14.0 Decrease 9.9 Increase 10.7

Commodity producing sector growth rate

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
4 Commodity producing sector growth rate
3.02% Increase 9.23% Decrease 6.78% Decrease 2.38% Increase 5.48% Decrease 5.05% -0.88% -0.88% Increase 1.76% Increase 3.21% Decrease 3.09% Decrease 1.73% Increase 3.49% Increase 3.63% Decrease 3.03% Increase 4.26%

Service sector

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
5 Service sector growth rate
4.79% Increase 6.45% Increase 8.14% Increase 8.20% Decrease 5.58% Decrease 4.94% Decrease 1.33% Increase 3.21% Increase 3.94% Increase 4.40% Increase 5.13% Decrease 4.46% Decrease 4.36% Increase 5.55% Increase 5.98%

Per capita income

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
6 Per capita income (US dollars)
746.0 Decrease 663.2 Increase 724.1 Increase 897.4 Increase 979.9 Increase 1053.2 Decrease 1026.1 Increase 1072.4 Increase 1274.1 Increase 1320.5 Increase 1333.7 Increase 1388.8 Increase 1514.0 Increase 1530.8 Increase 1628.8


Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
7 Consumer price index growth rate
7.3% Positive decrease 4.6% Negative increase 9.3% Positive decrease 7.9% Positive decrease 7.8% Negative increase 12.0% Negative increase 17.0% Positive decrease 10.1% Negative increase 13.7% Positive decrease 11.0% Positive decrease 7.4% Negative increase 8.6% Positive decrease 4.5% Positive decrease 2.9% Negative increase 4.2%

Government revenues and expenditures

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
8 Government total revenues (billion rupees)
Increase 794.1 Increase 900.0 Increase 1076.6 Increase 1298.0 Increase 1499.4 Increase 1850.9 Increase 2077.8 Increase 2252.9 Increase 2566.5 Increase 2982.4 Increase 3637.3 Increase 3931.0 Increase 4447.0 Increase 4936.7
8(a) Total tax revenue (billion rupees)
Increase 550.1 Increase 632.6 Increase 753.0 Increase 919.3 Increase 1065.2 Increase 1316.7 Increase 1472.5 Increase 1699.3 Increase 2052.9 Increase 2199.2 Increase 2564.5 Increase 3017.6 Increase 3660.4 Increase 3969.2
9 Government total expenditures (billion rupees)
923.6 Negative increase 1117.0 Negative increase 1401.8 Negative increase 1675.5 Negative increase 2276.5 Negative increase 2531.3 Negative increase 3007.2 Negative increase 3447.3 Negative increase 3936.2 Negative increase 4816.3 Negative increase 5026.0 Negative increase 5387.8 Negative increase 5796.3 Negative increase 6800.5
10 Fiscal deficit (billion rupees)
- 129.5 - 217.0 - 325.2 - 377.5 - 777.2 - 680.4 - 929.4 - 1194.4 - 1369.7 - 1833.9 - 1388.7 - 1456.7 - 1349.3 - 1863.8
11 Total revenues as % of GDP
14.3% Decrease 13.8% Decrease 13.1% Increase 14.0% Increase 14.1% Decrease 14.0% Steady 14.0% Decrease 12.3% Increase 12.8% Increase 13.3% Increase 14.5% Decrease 14.3% Increase 15.3% Increase 15.5%
11(a) Tax revenue as % of GDP
11.0 Decrease 10.1% Decrease 9.8% Decrease 9.6% Increase 9.9% Decrease 9.1% Increase 9.9% Decrease 9.3% Increase 10.2% Decrease 9.8% Increase 10.2% Increase 11.0% Increase 12.6% Decrease 12.5%
12 Total expenditures as % of GDP
16.7% Negative increase 17.2% Positive decrease 17.1% Negative increase 18.1% Negative increase 21.4% Positive decrease 19.2% Negative increase 20.2% Positive decrease 18.9% Negative increase 21.4% Negative increase 21.5% Positive decrease 20.0% Positive decrease 19.6% Negative increase 19.9% Negative increase 21.3%
13 Fiscal Deficit as % of GDP
2.4% Negative increase 3.3% Negative increase 4.0% Negative increase 4.1% Negative increase 7.3% Positive decrease 5.2% Negative increase 6.2% Negative increase 6.5% Negative increase 8.8% Positive decrease 8.2% Positive decrease 5.5% Positive decrease 5.3% Positive decrease 4.6% Negative increase 5.8%

Government debt and liabilities

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
14 Net Public Debt (Billion Rupees)
3914.8 Negative increase 4160.4 Negative increase 4480.5 Negative increase 4980.1 Negative increase 6067.5 Negative increase 7,835.5 Negative increase 9,232.2 Negative increase 11,992.7 Negative increase 13,568.3 Negative increase 15,355.8 Negative increase 16,063.6 Negative increase 16,692.4 Negative increase 18,385.7 Negative increase 19,635.4
15 Net Public Debt as % of GDP
63.1% Positive decrease 58.3% Positive decrease 54.5% Positive decrease 53.9% Negative increase 57.0% Negative increase 61.5% Negative increase 62.2% Positive decrease 58.1% Negative increase 59.2% Negative increase 62.7% Negative increase 65.4% Positive decrease 56.4% Positive decrease 54.9% Negative increase 61.6%
16 Total External Debt (Billion US dollars)
33.3 Negative increase 34.0 Negative increase 35.7 Negative increase 38.7 Negative increase 40.7 Negative increase 46.4 Negative increase 49.8 Negative increase 55.3 Positive decrease 53.5 Positive decrease 48.1 Negative increase 51.3 Positive decrease 50.9 Negative increase 57.7 Negative increase 62.5
17 Total External Debt as % of GDP
32.3% Positive decrease 29.6% Positive decrease 26.9% Positive decrease 25.4% Negative increase 26.1% Negative increase 28.6% Negative increase 28.7% Positive decrease 26.0% Positive decrease 25.2% Positive decrease 21.4% Positive decrease 20.2% Positive decrease 18.9% Negative increase 20.8% Positive decrease 20.6%
18 Total External Debt and Liabilities (Billion US dollars) [72] 36.6 Positive decrease 34.7 Negative increase 35.4 Negative increase 37.2 Negative increase 40.3 Negative increase 46.1 Negative increase 52.3 Negative increase 61.6 Negative increase 66.3 Positive decrease 65.5 Positive decrease 60.9 Negative increase 65.3 Positive decrease 65.2 Negative increase 73.9 Negative increase 83.0

Foreign exchange reserves

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
19 Foreign exchange reserves SBP + Scheduled Banks (Billion US Dollars)
13.2 Increase 13.3 Increase 14.6 Increase 18.9 Decrease 13.4 Increase 14.0 Increase 18.0 Increase 21.0 Decrease 16.5 Decrease 11.0 Increase 14.1 Increase 18.7 Increase 23.1 Decrease 21.4

Foreign direct investment

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
20 Foreign direct investment (Million US Dollars)
4874.0 Increase 5410.2 Decrease 3719.9 Decrease 2150.8 Decrease 1634.8 Decrease 820.6 Increase 1456.5 Increase 1698.6 Decrease 987.9 Increase 2305.3 Increase 2410.9

PSE 100 index growth rate

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
21 PSE 100 index growth rate
27.2% Increase 55.2% Decrease 41.1% Decrease 34.1% Increase 37.9% Decrease -10.8% Decrease -41.7% Increase 35.7% Decrease 28.5% Decrease 10.4% Increase 52.2% Decrease 41.2% Decrease 16.0% Decrease 9.9% Increase 27.5

Foreign trade

Note : This is the merchandised trade data (export and import) as released by the SBP.This may differ from the data compiled by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
22 USD to PKR exchange rates
51.7709 Increase 57.5745 Increase 59.3576 Increase 59.8566 Increase 60.6342 Increase 62.5465 Increase 78.4983 Increase 83.8017 Increase 85.5017 Increase 89.2359 Increase 96.7272 Increase 102.8591 Decrease 101.2947 Increase 104.2351 Increase 104.6971
23 Exports of Pakistan (billion US dollars)
12.396 Increase 14.401 Increase 16.553 Increase 17.278 Increase 20.427 Decrease 19.121 Increase 19.673 Increase 25.354 Decrease 24.718 Increase 24.802 Increase 25.078 Decrease 24.089 Decrease 21.972 Decrease 21.938
24 Exports growth rate
13.8% Increase 16.2% Decrease 13.8% Decrease 4.5% Increase 18.0% Decrease -6.4% Increase 2.9% Increase 28.9% Decrease -2.6% Increase 0.3% Increase 1.1% Decrease -3.9% Decrease -8.8% Increase -0.2%
25 Imports of Pakistan (billion US dollars)
13.604 Increase 18.753 Increase 24.994 Increase 26.989 Increase 35.397 Decrease 31.747 Decrease 31.132 Increase 35.796 Increase 40.371 Decrease 40.157 Increase 41.668 Decrease 41.357 Decrease 41.255 Increase 48.506
26 Imports growth rate
20.0% Increase 37.8% Decrease 31.6% Decrease 8.0% Increase 31.2% Decrease -10.3% Increase -1.7% Increase 15.0% Increase 12.8% Decrease -0.5% Increase 3.8% Decrease -0.7% Increase -0.2% Increase 17.6%
27 Trade deficit (billion US dollars)
1.208 Negative increase 4.352 Negative increase 8.441 Negative increase 9.711 Negative increase 14.970 Positive decrease 12.627 Positive decrease 11.452 Positive decrease 10.427 Negative increase 15.652 Positive decrease 15.355 Negative increase 16.590 Negative increase 17.267 Negative increase 19.283 Negative increase 26.568
28 Trade deficit as % of GDP
3.9% Positive decrease 1.2% Negative increase 4.0% Negative increase 6.5% Positive decrease 6.2% Negative increase 8.8% Positive decrease 7.5% Positive decrease 6.5% Positive decrease 4.9% Negative increase 7.0% Positive decrease 6.6% Negative increase 6.8% Positive decrease 6.3% Negative increase 6.6% Negative increase 8.7%

Workers' remittances

Index List 2000s 2003–2004 2004–2005 2005–2006 2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016 2016–2017
29 Workers' remittances (billion US dollars )
4.6 Increase 5.4 Increase 6.4 Increase 7.8 Increase 8.9 Increase 11.2 Increase 13.1 Increase 13.9 Increase 15.8 Increase 18.7 Increase 19.9 Decrease 19.3
30 Workers' remittances growth rate
26.8% -8.6% -8.6% Decrease 7.7% Increase 10.4% Increase 19.4% Decrease 17.4% Increase 21.1% Decrease 14.0% Increase 25.8% Decrease 17.7% Decrease 5.6% Increase 13.7% Increase 18.2% Decrease 6.4% -3.0% -3.0%
A view of I. I. Chundrigar Road of Karachi(Financial Capital of Pakistan)
Main Industries by Region - Pakistan.png
Main Industries by Region – Pakistan. Source:[89]

In 2016, the Atlantic Media Company (AMC) of the United States has ranked Pakistan as a relatively stronger economy in the South Asian markets and expected that it will grow rapidly during days ahead. AMC said that during the period January–July this year, Indian 100 point index was 6.67% while Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) had achieved 100 point index of 17 percent. [15]

Stock market

In the first four years of the twenty-first century, Pakistan's KSE 100 Index was the best-performing stock market index in the world as declared by the international magazine "Business Week".[90] The stock market capitalisation of listed companies in Pakistan was valued at $5,937 million in 2005 by the World Bank.[91] But in 2008, after the General Elections, uncertain political environment, rising militancy along western borders of the country, and mounting inflation and current account deficits resulted in the steep decline of the Karachi Stock Exchange. As a result, the corporate sector of Pakistan has declined dramatically in recent times. However, the market bounced back strongly in 2009 and the trend continues in 2011. By 2014 the stock market burst into uncharted territories as the benchmark KSE 100 Index rose 907 points (3.1%) and shot past the 30,000-point barrier to close at a new record high, this came days after Moody's announced that it was upgrading the outlook of 5 major Pakistani banks from Negative to Stable, resulting in heavy buying in the banking sector. The rally was supported by heavy buying in the oil and gas and cement sectors.[92] On 11 January 2016, aimed to help reduce market fragmentation and create a strong case for attracting strategic partnerships necessary for providing technological expertise all the three stock exchanges including Karachi Stock Exchange, Lahore Stock Exchange and Islamabad Stock Exchange were inducted into a unified Pakistan Stock Exchange.[93] In May 2017 American provider of stock market indexes and analysis tools, MSCI has confirmed that the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has been reclassified from Frontier Markets to Emerging Markets in its semi-annual index review.[94] Euphoria over the stock exchange’s reclassification as an emerging market propelled the PSE-100 Index past another milestone when the Index recorded an increase of 636.96 points, or 1.23%, to end at 52,387.87.[95] Now in September 2017 the PSE-100 index came back at 41000 points.[96]

Middle class

As of 2013, according to Macro Economic Insights, a research firm in Islamabad, the size of the Pakistani middle class is conservatively estimated at approximately 70 million, out of a total population of about 186 million. This represents 40% of the population of the country.[97]

On measures of income inequality, the country ranks slightly better than the median. In late 2006, the Central Board of Revenue estimated that there were almost 2.8 million income-tax payers in the country.[98] However, by 2013, the number of taxpayers was drastically reduced to just 768,000 out of a total population of 190 million, meaning that only 0.57% of the population pay taxes[99]

Poverty levels have decreased by 10% since 2001[100] Foreign companies selling to the Pakistani middle classes have been very successful. For example, demand for Unilever products have recently been so high that even after doubling production the Anglo-Dutch company struggled to meet demand and its chairman stated "Pakistanis can’t seem to have enough".[101]

Poverty alleviation expenditures

Socio-Economic Status of Pakistanis.png
Socio-Economic Status of Pakistanis, source:[102]

Pakistan government spent over 1 trillion Rupees (about $16.7 billion) on poverty alleviation programmes during the past four years, cutting poverty from 35% in 2000–01 to 29.3% in 2013 and 17% in 2015.[103] Rural poverty remains a pressing issue, as development there has been far slower than in the major urban areas.


The high population growth in the past few decades has ensured that a very large number of young people are now entering the labor market. Even though it is among the six most populous Asian nations. In the past, excessive red tape made firing from jobs, and consequently hiring, difficult.[104] Significant progress in taxation and business reforms has ensured that many firms now are not compelled to operate in the underground economy.[105]

"In 2016 government took a remarkable initiative by announcing the Prime Minister's Youth Program to combat unemployment in the country.This program has a broad canvas of schemes enabling youth and poor segment of society to get better employment opportunities, economic empowerment, acquiring skills needed for gainful employment, access to IT and imparting on-the-job training for young graduates to improve the probability of getting a productive job. Prime Minister’s Youth Program includes six schemes which are Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loan Scheme, Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan Scheme, Prime Minister’s Youth Skill Development Program, Prime Minister’s Program for Provision of Laptops to Talented Students, Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme,Prime Minister’s Youth Training Scheme".[106] Government sector is also contributing in employment and according to estimate 4.5 million people are employed by federal, provincial and local governments in different sectors from Armed forces to education and health.[107]


Malam Jabba Ski Resort.jpg
Malam Jabba Ski Resort, Swat, Kyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Faisal mosque2.jpg
Faisal Mosque in the capital Islamabad.

Tourism in Pakistan has been stated as being the tourism industry's "next big thing". Pakistan, with its diverse cultures, people and landscapes, has attracted 90 million tourists to the country, almost double to that of a decade ago. Due to threat of terrorism the number of foreigner tourists has gradually declined and the shock of 2013 Nanga Parbat tourist shooting has terribly adversely effected the tourism industry.[108] As of 2016 tourism has begun to recover in Pakistan, albeit gradually.[109]


Although the country is a Federation with constitutional division of taxation powers between the Federal Government and the four provinces, the revenue department of the Federal Government, the Federal board of Revenue, collects almost 95% of the entire national revenue. The Federal Board of Revenue collected 3.370 trillion rupees in taxes against the target of 3.621 trillion rupees in the fiscal year 2016–2017. FBR achieved 8% growth in revenues over the previous fiscal year’s collection of Rs3.114 trillion.[110]

Currency system


The basic unit of currency is the Rupee, ISO code PKR and abbreviated Rs, which is divided into 100 paisas. Currently the newly printed 5,000 rupee note is the largest denomination in circulation. Recently the SBP has introduced all new design notes of Rs. 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000.

USD-PKR Exchange.JPG
Dollar-Rupee exchange rate

The Pakistani Rupee was pegged to the Pound sterling until 1982, when the government of General Zia-ul-Haq, changed it to managed float. As a result, the rupee devalued by 38.5% between 1982/83 many of the industries built by his predecessor suffered with a huge surge in import costs. After years of appreciation under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and despite huge increases in foreign aid the Rupee depreciated.

Foreign exchange rate

The Pakistani rupee depreciated against the US dollar until around the start of the 21st century, when Pakistan's large current-account surplus pushed the value of the rupee up versus the dollar. Pakistan's central bank then stabilised by lowering interest rates and buying dollars, in order to preserve the country's export competitiveness

PKR per US dollar 1995–2008
Year Highest ↑ Lowest ↓
Date Rate Date Rate
1996 PKR 30.930
1997 PKR 35.266
1998 PKR 40.185
1999 PKR 44.550
2000 PKR 51.90
2001 PKR 53.6482
2002 PKR 61.9272
2003 PKR 59.7238
2005 PKR 57.752
2006 PKR 58.000
2009 05 Aug PKR 60.75 01 Nov PKR 60.50
2010 October 10 PKR 80.00 01 Apr PKR 63.50
Source: PKR exchange rates in USD, SBP

Foreign exchange reserves

Pakistan maintains foreign reserves with State Bank of Pakistan. The currency of the reserves was solely US dollar incurring speculated losses after the dollar prices fell during 2005, forcing the then Governor SBP Ishrat Hussain to step down. In the same year the SBP issued an official statement proclaiming diversification of reserves in currencies including Euro and Yen, withholding ratio of diversification.

Following the international credit crisis and spikes in crude oil prices, Pakistan's economy could not withstand the pressure and on October 11, 2008, State Bank of Pakistan reported that the country's foreign exchange reserves had gone down by $571.9 million to $7749.7 million.[111] The foreign exchange reserves had declined more by $10 billion to a level of $6.59 billion. in June 2013 Pakistan was on the brink of default on its financial commitments. Country's Forex reserves were at an historic low covering only two weeks’ worth of imports. Today in November 2017 Pakistan's Foreign exchange reserves are at a comfortable level (20 billion dollars), sufficient to cover about 3 months of imports.

Structure of economy

The economy of Pakistan is suffering with high inflation rates well above 26%. Over 1,081 patent applications were filed by non-resident Pakistanis in 2004 revealing a new-found confidence.[112] Agriculture accounted for about 53% of GDP in 1947. While per-capita agricultural output has grown since then, it has been outpaced by the growth of the non-agricultural sectors, and the share of agriculture has dropped to roughly one-fifth of Pakistan's economy. In recent years, the country has seen rapid growth in industries (such as apparel, textiles, and cement) and services (such as telecommunications, transportation, advertising, and finance).

Major sectors



Agriculture by Province.jpg
Agriculture by Province
Mango Orchard in Multan, Pakistan

The most important crops are wheat, sugarcane, cotton, and rice, which together account for more than 75% of the value of total crop output. Pakistan's largest food crop is wheat. In 2017, Pakistan produced 25,750,000 metric tons of wheat, more than all of Africa and nearly as much as all of South America, according to the USDA.[113] Pakistan has also cut the use of dangerous pesticides dramatically.[114]

Pakistan is a net food exporter, except in occasional years when its harvest is adversely affected by droughts. Pakistan exports rice, cotton, fish, fruits (especially Oranges and Mangoes), and vegetables and imports vegetable oil, wheat, pulses and consumer foods. The country is Asia's largest camel market, second-largest apricot and ghee market and third-largest cotton, onion and milk market. The economic importance of agriculture has declined since independence, when its share of GDP was around 53%. Following the poor harvest of 1993, the government introduced agriculture assistance policies, including increased support prices for many agricultural commodities and expanded availability of agricultural credit. From 1993 to 1997, real growth in the agricultural sector averaged 5.7% but has since declined to about 4%. Agricultural reforms, including increased wheat and oil seed production, play a central role in the government's economic reform package.

Majority of the population, directly or indirectly, dependent on this sector. It contributes about 19.53% percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for 42.3% of employed labor force and is the largest source of foreign exchange earnings.[115] In 2018, the sector is expected to face slowdown as a direct result of up to 30% shortfall in water availability for irragation.[116] Pakistan's Top commodities productions in 2017 were:[117]

Commodity Value [Tonnes]
Wheat 25,750,000
Cotton 10,671,000 bales
Rice 6,849,000
Sugarcane 73,607,000
Maize 6,130,000

Pakistan's principal natural resources are arable land and water. About 25% of Pakistan's total land area is under cultivation and is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. Pakistan irrigates three times more acres than Russia. Pakistan agriculture also benefits from year round warmth. Agriculture accounts for about 19.53% of GDP and employs about 42.3% of the labour force. Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited is the largest financial institution geared towards the development of agriculture sector through provision of financial services and technical expertise.


Pakistan is endowed with significant mineral resources and is emerging as a very promising area for prospecting/exploration for mineral deposits. Based on available information, the country's more than 6,00,000 km² of outcrops area demonstrates varied geological potential for metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits.In the wake of 18th amendment to the constitution all the provinces are free to exploit and explore the mineral resources which are in their jurisdiction. Mining and quarrying contributes 13.91% in industrial sector and its share in GDP is 2.90%. Pakistan mining and quarrying sector grew by 1.34% in 2017 against the growth of 6.86% last year.

In the recent past, exploration by government agencies as well as by multinational mining companies presents ample evidence of the occurrences of sizeable minerals deposits. Recent discoveries of a thick oxidised zone underlain by sulphide zones in the shield area of the Punjab province, covered by thick alluvial cover have opened new vistas for metallic minerals exploration. Pakistan has a large base for industrial minerals. The discovery of coal deposits having over 175 billion tones of reserves at Thar in the Sindh province has given an impetus to develop it as an alternate source of energy. There is vast potential for precious and dimension stones.

Extraction of principal minerals in last 3 fiscal years is given in the table below :-[118]

Minerals Unit of quantity 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Metric Ton
3,406,851 Increase3,749,312 Increase4,605,807
Natural Gas
1,465,759 Increase1,481,551 Decrease1,480,092
Crude Oil
34,490,000 Decrease31,652,000 Increase32,258,000
Metric Ton
100,516 Decrease69,333 Increase98,882
Metric Ton
4,611 Increase35,228 Decrease14,890
Metric Ton
223,117 Increase716,611 Decrease423,296
Metric Ton
1,417,007 Increase1,871,716 Increase2,109,152
Lime stone
Metric Ton
39,819,401 Increase48,296,551 Increase52,386,080
Rock Salt
Metric Ton
2,136,361 Increase3,552,984 Decrease3,491,691
Metric Ton
19,730 Decrease14,869 Increase23,080
Metric Ton
118,568 Increase157,407 Decrease42,506
Soap Stone
Metric Ton
100,724 Increase125,330 Decrease117,668
Metric Ton
2,520,170 Increase4,748,715 Increase6,179,867
Metric Ton
24,689 Increase57,024 Increase123,316
Metric Ton
38,016 Increase88,171 Increase104,645



Manufacturing by Province.jpg
Manufacturing by Province

Pakistan's industrial sector accounts for about 20.88% of GDP.In 2017 it recorded a growth of 5.02% as compared to the growth of 5.80% last year.Manufacturing is the most vibrant sub sector of the industrial sector having 64.4% contribution in the industrial sector and in GDP it accounts for 13.45%.Manufacturing sub-sector is further divided in three components including large-scale manufacturing(LSM) with the share of 51.26 percent in industrial sector, small scale manufacturing share is 8.80 percent in industrial sector, while Slaughtering contributes 4.34 percent in the industry.[119] major sectors in industries include cement, fertiliser, edible oil, sugar, steel, tobacco, chemicals, machinery, and food processing.

The government is privatizing large-scale industrial units, and the public sector accounts for a shrinking proportion of industrial output, while growth in overall industrial output (including the private sector) has accelerated. Government policies aim to diversify the country's industrial base and bolster export industries. Large Scale Manufacturing is the fastest-growing sector in Pakistani economy[120] Major Industries include textiles, fertiliser, cement, oil refineries, dairy products, food processing, beverages, construction materials, clothing, paper products and shrimp

In Pakistan SMEs have a significant contribution in the total GDP of Pakistan, according to SMEDA and Economic survey reports, the share in the annual GDP is 40% likewise SMEs generating significant employment opportunities for skilled workers and entrepreneurs. Small and medium scale firms represent nearly 90% of all the enterprises in Pakistan and employ 80% of the non-agricultural labor force. These figures indicate the potential and further growth in this sector.[104]

Pakistan's largest corporation are mostly involved in utilities like oil, gas and telecommunication:

Rank[121] Name Headquarters Revenue
(Mil. $)
01. Pakistan State Oil Karachi 13,094[122]
02. Pak-Arab Refinery Qasba Gujrat 3,000
03. Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited Lahore 2,520
04. Shell Pakistan Karachi 2,380
05. Oil and Gas Development Company Islamabad 2,230
06. National Refinery Karachi 1,970
07. Hub Power Company Hub, Balochistan 1,970
08. K-Electric Karachi 1,951[123]
09. Attock Refinery Rawalpindi 1,740
010. Attock Petroleum Rawalpindi 1,740
011. Pakistan Telecommunication Company Islamabad 1,326
012. Engro Corporation Karachi 1,012[124]
013. Fauji Fertilizer Company Limited Rawalpindi 754

Construction material

In 1947, Pakistan had inherited four cement plants with a total capacity of 0.5 million tons. Some expansion took place in 1956–66 but could not keep pace with the economic development and the country had to resort to imports of cement in 1976–77 and continued to do so till 1994–95. The cement sector consisting of 27 plants is contributing above Rs 30 billion to the national exchequer in the form of taxes. However, by 2013, Pakistan's cement is fast-growing mainly because of demand from Afghanistan and countries boosting real estate sector, In 2013 Pakistan exported 7,708,557 metric tons of cement.[125] Pakistan has installed capacity of 44,768,250 metric tons of cement and 42,636,428 metric tons of clinker. In the 2012–2013 cement industry in Pakistan became the most profitable sector of economy.[126]

Information communication technology industry

The information communication technology (ICT) industry grossed over $4.8 billion in 2013. It is expected to exceed the $13 billion mark by 2018.[127] A marked increase in software export figures are an indication of this booming industry's potential. The total number of IT companies increased to 1306 and the total estimated size of IT industry is $2.8 billion. In 2007, Pakistan was for the first time featured in the Global Services Location Index by A.T. Kearney and was rated as the 30th best location for offshoring.[128] By 2009, Pakistan had improved its rank by ten places to reach 20th.[129] According to Pakistan Startup report, there are about 1 million freelancers working from Pakistan mainly via elance, oDesk and freelancer – world's famous online market places that count Pakistan among top 5 freelancing nations.

Defence industry

The defence industry of Pakistan, under the Ministry of Defence Production, was created in September 1951 to promote and coordinate the patchwork of military production facilities that have developed since independence.It is currently actively participating in many joint production projects such as Al Khalid 2, advance trainer aircraft, combat aircraft, navy ships and submarines. Pakistan is manufacturing and selling weapons to over 40 countries, bringing in $20 million annually.The country's arms imports increased by 119 per cent between the 2004–2008 and 2009–13, with China providing 54pc and the USA 27pc of Pakistan's imports.


Most of the Textile Industry is established in Punjab. 10% of United States imports regarding clothing and other form of textiles is covered by Pakistan.


As of 2010, Pakistan is one of the largest users of CNG (compressed natural gas) in the world. Presently, more than 3,000 CNG stations are operating in the country in 99 cities and towns, and 1000 more would be set up in the next two years. It has provided employment to over 50,000 people in Pakistan, but the CNG industry is struggling to survive the 2013 energy crisis.[130][131]


PRC Towers, Karachi.

Pakistan's service sector accounts for about 53.3% of GDP.[132] Transport, storage, communications, finance, and insurance account for 24% of this sector, and wholesale and retail trade about 30%. Pakistan is trying to promote the information industry and other modern service industries through incentives such as long-term tax holidays.


PTCL phone shop.jpg
PTCL's One Stop Shop in Islamabad

After the deregulation of the telecommunication industry, the sector has seen an exponential growth. Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd has emerged as a successful Forbes 2000 conglomerate with over US $1 billion in sales in 2005. The mobile telephone market has exploded many-fold since 2003 to reach a subscriber base of 140 million users in July 2017, one of the highest mobile teledensities in the entire world.[133] In addition, there are over 6 million landlines in the country with 100% fibre-optic network and coverage via WLL in even the remotest areas.[134] As a result, Pakistan won the prestigious Government Leadership award of GSM Association in 2006.[135]

The World Bank estimates that it takes about 3 days to get a phone connection in Pakistan.[136]

In Pakistan, the following are the top mobile phone operators:

  1. Mobilink (Parent: VimpelCom Ltd., Netherland)
  2. Ufone (Parent: PTCL (Etisalat), Pakistan/UAE)
  3. Telenor (Parent: Telenor, Norway)
  4. Zong (Parent: China Mobile, China)

By March 2009, Pakistan had 91 million mobile subscribers – 25 million more subscribers than reported in the same period in 2008. In addition to the 3.1 million fixed lines, while as many as 2.4 million are using Wireless Local Loop connections. Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola along with Samsung and LG remain the most popular brands among customers.[137]

Since liberalisation, over the past four years, the Pakistani telecom sector has attracted more than $9 billion in foreign investments.[138] During 2007–08, the Pakistani communication sector alone received $1.62 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – about 30% of the country's total foreign direct investment.

Present growth of state-of-the-art infrastructures in the telecoms sector during the last four years has been the result of the PTA's vision and implementation of the deregulation policy. Paging and mobile (cellular) telephones were adopted early and freely. Cellular phones and the Internet were adopted through a rather laissez-faire policy with a proliferation of private service providers that led to the fast adoption. With a rapid increase in the number of Internet users and ISPs, and a large English-speaking population, Pakistani society has seen an unparalleled revolution in communications.

According to the PC World,[139] a total of 6.37 billion text messages were sent through Acision messaging systems across Asia Pacific over the 2008/2009 Christmas and New Year period. Pakistan was amongst the top five ranker with one of the highest SMS traffic with 763 million messages. On 14 August 2010, Pakistan became the first country in the world to experience EVDO's RevB 3G technology that offers maximum speeds of 9.3 Mbit/s. 3G and 4G was simultaneously launched in Pakistan on April 23, 2014 through a SMRA Auction. Three out of Five Companies got a 3G licence i.e. Ufone, Mobilink and Telenor while China Mobile's Zong got 3G as well as a 4G licence. Whereas fifth company, Warid Pakistan did not participate in the auction procedure, But they launched 4G LTE services on their existing 2G 1800 MHz spectrum due to Technology neutral terms and became world's first Telecom Company to transform directly from 2G to 4G. With that Pakistan joined the 3G and 4G world. In December 2017, 3G and 4G subscribers in Pakistan reached to 46 millions. [133]

Pakistan is ranked 4th in terms of broadband Internet growth in the world, as the subscriber base of broadband Internet has been increasing rapidly. The rankings are released by Point Topic Global broadband analysis, a global research centre.[140]

  • Pakistan has more than 20 million Internet users in 2009.[141] The country is said to have a potential to absorb up to 50 million mobile phone Internet users in the next 5 years thus a potential of nearly 1 million connections per month.
  • Almost all of the main government departments, organisations and institutions have their own websites.
  • The use of search engines and instant messaging services is also booming. Pakistanis are some of the most ardent chatters on the Internet, communicating with users all over the world. Recent years have seen a huge increase in the use of online marriage services, for example, leading to a major re-alignment of the tradition of arranged marriages.
  • Biometric reverification of SIMs in 2015 had an adverse impact on the cellular subscriber base when subscribers count dropped from 139.9 million to 114.6 million. However, the industry has survived through the tough period and continues to regain subscribers at a fast pace.

According to the report released by PTA for the FY 2016-17 :-[142]

  • Total teledensity of Pakistan reached at 72.4%.
  • Telecom revenues were reached to Rs. 467.6 billion.
  • Total contribution of telecom sector to the national exchequre was RS. 161.4 billion.
  • Investment came to the telecom sector was US$634.9 million.

As of December 2017 there were four cell phone companies including PMCL(Jazz), Telenor, Ufone and Zong operating in the country with nearly 142 million mobile phone subscribers.[143]

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority released the figures in December 2017 that Broadband subscribers in the country reached to approximately 49 millions thus gaining the growth of over 18 fold since 2006.[143]


Pakistan International Airlines, the flagship airline of Pakistan's civil aviation industry, has turnover exceeding $25 billion in 2015.[144] The government announced a new shipping policy in 2006 permitting banks and financial institutions to mortgage ships.[145] Private sector airlines in Pakistan include Airblue, which serves the main cities within Pakistan in addition to destinations in the Persian Gulf and Manchester in the United Kingdom. The other private carrier is Shaheen Air International whose network covers the main cities of Pakistan and the Persian Gulf.

A massive rehabilitation plan worth $1 billion over five years for Pakistan Railways has been announced by the government in 2005.[146] A new rail link trial has been established from Islamabad to Istanbul, via the Iranian cities of Zahedan, Kerman and Tehran. It is expected to promote trade, tourism, especially for exports destined for Europe (as Turkey is part of Europe and Asia).[147][148]


Pakistan's banking sector has remained remarkably strong and resilient during the world financial crisis in 2008–09, a feature which has served to attract a substantial amount of FDI in the sector. Stress tests conducted on June 2008 data indicate that the large banks are relatively robust, with the medium and small-sized banks positioning themselves in niche markets. Banking sector turned profitable in 2002. Their profits continued to rise for the next five years and peaked to Rs 84.1 ($1.1 billion) billion in 2006.

The credit card market continued its strong growth with sales crossing the 1 million mark in mid-2005.[149] Since 2000 Pakistani banks have begun aggressive marketing of consumer finance to the emerging middle class, allowing for a consumption boom (more than a 7-month waiting list for certain car models) as well as a construction bonanza.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.807,807 million in 2012 thus registering over 510% growth since 2000.[150]

An article published in Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy by Mete Feridun of University of Greenwich in London with his Pakistani colleague Abdul Jalil presents strong econometric evidence that financial development fosters economic growth in Pakistan.[151]


Houses in Bahria Town, the largest private housing society in Asia.

The property sector has expanded twenty-threefold since 2001, particularly in metropolises like Lahore.[152] Nevertheless, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimated in late 2006 that the overall production of housing units in Pakistan has to be increased to 0.5 million units annually to address 6.1 million backlog of housing in Pakistan for meeting the housing shortfall in next 20 years. The report noted that the present housing stock is also rapidly aging and an estimate suggests that more than 50% of stock is over 50 years old. It is also estimated that 50% of the urban population now lives in slums and squatter settlements. The report said that meeting the backlog in housing, besides replacement of out-lived housing units, is beyond the financial resources of the government. This necessitates putting in place a framework to facilitate financing in the formal private sector and mobilise non-government resources for a market-based housing finance system.[153]

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.459,829 million in 2012 thus registering over 149% growth since 2006.[150]

Minor sectors

The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.389,545 million in 2005 thus registering over 65% growth since 2000.[154] The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.631,229 million in 2005 thus registering over 78% growth since 2000.[154] The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.1,358,309 million in 2005 thus registering over 96% growth since 2000. The wholesale and retail trade is the largest sub-sector of the services. Its share in the overall services sector is estimated at 31.5 percent. The wholesale and retail trade sector is based on the margins taken by traders on the transaction of commodities traded. In 2012–13, this sector grew at 2.5 percent as compared to 1.7 percent in the previous year.


For years, the matter of balancing Pakistan's supply against the demand for electricity has remained a largely unresolved matter. Pakistan faces a significant challenge in revamping its network responsible for the supply of electricity. While the government claims credit for overseeing a turnaround in the economy through a comprehensive recovery, it has just failed to oversee a similar improvement in the quality of the network for electricity supply. Most cities in Pakistan receive substantial sunlight throughout the year, which would suggest good conditions for investment in solar energy. If the rich people in Pakistan are shifted to solar energy that they should be forced to purchase solar panels, the shortfall can be controlled. this will make the economy boost again as before 2007. According to an econometric analysis published in Quality & Quantity by Mete Feridun of University of Greenwich and his colleague Muhammad Shahbaz, economic growth in Pakistan leads to electricity consumption but not vice versa.[155]


Chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Foreign trade, remittances, aid, and investment


Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan soared by 180.6 percent year-on-year to US$2.22 billion and portfolio investment by 276 per cent to $407.4 million during the first nine months of fiscal year 2006, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on 24 April. During July–March 2005–06, FDI year-on-year increased to $2.224 billion from only $792.6 million and portfolio investment to $407.4 million, whereas it was $108.1 million in the corresponding period last year, according to the latest statistics released by the State Bank.[157] Pakistan has achieved FDI of almost $8.4 billion in the financial year 06/07, surpassing the government target of $4 billion.[158] Foreign investment had significantly declined by 2010, dropping by 54.6% due to Pakistan's political instability and weak law and order, according to the Bank of Pakistan.[159]

Business regulations have been overhauled along liberal lines, especially since 1999. Most barriers to the flow of capital and international direct investment have been removed. Foreign investors do not face any restrictions on the inflow of capital, and investment of up to 100% of equity participation is allowed in most sectors. Unlimited remittance of profits, dividends, service fees or capital is now the rule. However, doing business has been becoming increasingly difficult over the past decade due to political instability, rising domestic insurgency and insecurity and vehement corruption. This can be confirmed by the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index report degrading its ratings for Pakistan each year since September 2009 when it ranked Pakistan (at 85th) well ahead of neighbours like China (at 89th) and India (at 133rd).[160]

Pakistan is attracting private equity and was the ranked as number 20 in the world based on the amount of private equity entering the nation. Pakistan has been able to attract a portion of the global private equity investments because of economic reforms initiated in 2003 that have provided foreign investors with greater assurances for the stability of the nation and their ability to repatriate invested funds in the future.[161]

Tariffs have been reduced to an average rate of 16%, with a maximum of 25% (except for the car industry). The privatization process, which started in the early 1990s, has gained momentum, with most of the banking system privately owned, and the oil sector targeted to be the next big privatization operation.

The recent improvements in the economy and the business environment have been recognised by international rating agencies such as Moody's and Standard and Poor's (country risk upgrade at the end of 2003). 47.1% increase in Net FDI in 2014–2015 (July–October) as compared to 2013–14 (July–October).[162]

Foreign acquisitions and mergers

With the rapid growth in Pakistan's economy, foreign investors are taking a keen interest in the corporate sector of Pakistan. In recent years, majority stakes in many corporations have been acquired by multinational groups.

The foreign exchange receipts from these sales are also helping cover the current account deficit.[166]

Foreign trade

Pakistan’s external sector continued facing stress during 2016–17. The decline in export was curtailed but still Pakistan’s merchandise trade exports declined by 1.4 percent during the fiscal year 2016–17. The imports continued to grow at a much faster rate and grew by a large percentage of 17.7 during the FY 2017 as compared to the previous year.[81] World imports had been stagnant between 2011 and 2014 but registered significant drop since early 2015 because of weak commodity and product prices and weak global economic activity. Economic growth was lacklustre in the OECD countries which contributed to the slowdown in China. Furthermore, the ratio between real growth in world imports and world real GDP growth substantially declined. This decline in the import content of economic activity triggered a shift in consumption worldwide from traded towards non-traded goods, import substitution, a slowdown in the pace of trade liberalization, and gave currency to protectionist measures. A bulk of Pakistan’s exports are directed to the OECD region and China. Historical data suggest strong correlation between Pakistani exports to imports in OECD and China. As per FY 2016 data, more than half of country's exports are shipped to these two destinations i.e. OECD and China. A decline in Pakistan overall exports,thus occurred in this backdrop.[167]

Pakistan’s imports are showing rising trend at a relatively faster rate (17.7 percent) due to the increased economic activity as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), particularly in the Energy sector. The construction projects under CPEC require heavy machinery that has to be imported. It is also observed that the economy is currently being led both by investments as well as consumption, resulting in relatively higher levels of imports.

The sharp increase in imports may not be a cause for major worry, the imports during the current fiscal year included around $12 billion of capital goods (machinery, metals etc.), which would eventually increase the country’s industrial capacity and help exports flourish. The increase in import of machinery will have multiplier effect on the economy as the manufacturing has the highest backward linkage among the major sectors. As the demand for manufacturing grows, it in turn will help in the creation of jobs, investments, and innovations. Pakistan major exports commodities for the fiscal year 2016 and 2017 are listed in the table below:-[2]

Commodities 2015-2016(US $) 2016-2017(US $) Change(US $)
Rice 1,852,708,000 1,572,867,000 - 279,841,000
Cotton Yarn 1,266,127,000 1,139,929,000 - 126,198,000
Cotton Cloth 2,331,587,000 2,124,349,000 - 207,238,000
Knitwear 2,309,248,000 2,334,260,000 + 25,012,000
Bedwear 2,126,360,000 2,155,584,000 + 29,224,000
Ready-made Garments 2,156,033,000 2,277,874,000 + 121,841,000
Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products 1,052,316,000 1,110,531,000 + 58,215,000

Pakistan major imports commodities for the fiscal year 2016 and 2017 are listed in the table below:-[2]

Commodities 2015-2016(US $) 2016-2017(US $) Change(US $)
Palm oil 1,600,041,000 1,783,846,000 + 183,805,000
Power Generating Machinery 1,356,328,000 1,589,498,000 + 233,170,000
Electrical Machinery & Apparatus 1,650,692,000 1,324,592,000 - 326,100,000
Telecom 1,201,062,000 1,023,029,000 - 178,033,000
Road vehicles 1,263,807,000 1,774,141,000 + 510,334,000
Petroleum products 5,098,139,000 6,379,880,000 + 1,281,741,000
Petroleum crude 2,569,696,000 2,764,648,000 + 194,952,000
Liquefied natural gas 578,924,000 1,270,680,000 + 691,756,000
Plastic material 1,791,303,000 1,874,917,000 + 83,614,000
Iron and Steel 2,094,016,000 2,092,377,000 - 1,639,000

External imbalances

During FY 2017, the increase in imports of capital equipment and fuel significantly put pressure on the external account. A reversal in global oil prices led to increase in POL imports, accompanied by falling exports, as a result the merchandised trade deficit grew by 39.4 percent to US$26.885 billion in FY 2017. While remittances and Coalition Support Fund inflows both declined slightly over the same period last year, however, the impact was offset by an improvement in the income account, mainly due to lower profit repatriations by oil and gas firms.[167]

Current account – The Current account deficit increased to US$12.4 billion in FY 2017, against US$3.2 billion in FY 2016.[168]

However, the impact of high current deficit on foreign exchange reserves was not severe, as financial inflows were available to the country to partially offset the gap; these inflows helped ensure stability in the exchange rate. Net FDI grew by 12.4 percent and reached US$1.6 billion in the nine-months period, whereas net FPI saw an inflow of US$631 million, against an outflow of US$393 million last year. Encouragingly for the country, the period saw the completion of multiple merger and acquisition deals between local and foreign companies. Moreover, multiple foreign automakers announced their intention to enter the Pakistani market, and some also entered into joint ventures with local conglomerates.This indicates that Pakistan is clearly on foreign investors’ radar, and provides a positive outlook for FDI inflows going forward. government’s successful issuance of a US$1.0 billion Sukuk in the international capital market, at an extremely low rate of 5.5 percent. Besides, Pakistan continued to enjoy support from international financial institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and from bilateral partners like China, in the post-EFF period: net official loan inflows of US$1.1 billion were recorded during the period. As a result, the country’s FX reserve amounted to US$20.8 billion by May 4, 2017 sufficient to finance around four month of import payments.[167]

Economic aid

Pakistan receives economic aid from several sources as loans and grants. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), etc. provides long-term loans to Pakistan. Pakistan also receives bilateral aid from developed and oil-rich countries.

The Asian Development Bank will provide close to $6 billion development assistance to Pakistan during 2006–9.[169] The World Bank unveiled a lending programme of up to $6.5 billion for Pakistan under a new four-year, 2006–2009, aid strategy showing a significant increase in funding aimed largely at beefing up the country's infrastructure.[170] Japan will provide $500 million annual economic aid to Pakistan.[171] In November 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a loan of 7.6 billion to Pakistan, to help stabilise and rebuild the country's economy.

More recently the government of Pakistan received an economic aid of US $5bn dollars out of which the US pledge of $1bn was described as a down-payment on the previously announced $1.5bn already promised to Pakistan for each of the next five years. The European Union promised $640m over four years, while reports said Saudi Arabia had pledged $700m over two years.[172] Overall Friends of Pakistan had pledged $1.6 billion in aid, which would help Pakistan move forward on its way to self-reliance.

The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is being developed with $46 billion of Chinese loans and grants.


The remittances of Pakistanis living abroad has played important role in Pakistan's economy and foreign exchange reserves. The Pakistanis settled in Western Europe and North America are important sources of remittances to Pakistan. Since 1973 the Pakistani workers in the oil rich Arab states have been sources of billions of dollars of remittances.

The 9 million-strong Pakistani diaspora, contributed US$19.3 billion to the economy in FY2017.[173] The major source countries of remittances to Pakistan include UAE, US, Saudi Arabia, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman), Australia, Canada, Japan, UK and EU countries like Norway and Switzerland.

Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistani workers have seen a negative growth of 3.0% in the fiscal year 2017 compare to previous year when remittances reached at all-time high of 19.9 billion US dollars. This decline in remittances is mainly due to the adverse economic conditions of Arabian and gulf countries after the fall in oil prices in 2016. However, the recent development activities in the Qatar FIFA World Cup, Dubai Expo, Saudi Arabia’s implementation of its Vision 2030 and particularly the recent visit of the P.M to Kuwait should all be helpful in opening new avenues for employment in these countries . Going forward one can expect improvements in the coming years.

Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis in the fiscal year 2016/17 are as under:[81]

Country [Million USD]
USA 2,443.54
UK 2,338.34
Saudi Arabia 5,469.77
UAE 4,309.88
Other GCC countries 2,324.06
EU countries 482.59
Norway 41.31
Switzerland 26.34
Australia 204.31
Canada 187.22
Japan 14.31
Other countries 1,461.91

Government finances

Fiscal budget summary (FY2017/18) [174]

  • Fiscal year: 1 July – 30 June
  • Budget outlay: Rs 5,013.8 billion rupees
  • Revenues collection estimated: 4,713.7 billion rupees
  • Expenditures estimated: 5,103.8 billion rupees
  • Bank borrowing estimated: 390.1 billion rupees

Revenues and taxation

Pakistan has a low tax/GDP ratio, which it is trying to improve. The current tax-to-GDP ratio is 12.6% (2016),[7] which is a little less than its neighbour India 16.6% (2016) [175] while a slight more than Sri Lanka 12.3% (2015).[176] The pace of revenue mobilization has witnessed an upward trajectory since FY 2013. Overall revenues increased to 15.3 percent of GDP in FY 2016, compared to 13.3 percent of GDP recorded in FY 2013. Among those, tax revenues increased from 9.8 percent of GDP in FY 2013 to 12.6 percent of GDP in FY 2016.


Government expenditures were 4,383.6 billion rupees (FY 2016–2017 July to March). Total expenditures witnessed a downward trajectory without compromising the expenditures on development projects and social assistance. Particularly, expenditures under Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) have been raised adequately in order to meet the investment requirements. During FY 2017 the size of federal PSDP has increased to Rs 800 billion from Rs 348.3 billion during FY 2013, showing a cumulative increase of over 129 percent. During first nine months of current fiscal year, the fiscal deficit stood at 3.9 percent of GDP against 3.5 percent of GDP recorded in the same period of FY 2016 on account of higher development expenditures along with various tax incentives to promote investment and economic activity in the country and security related expenditures. On the basis of previous estimates of GDP at Rs 33,509 billion, the fiscal deficit was recorded at 3.7 percent during first nine months of current fiscal year against 3.4 percent registered in the comparable period of FY 2016. Total revenues grew at 6.2 percent to Rs 3,145.5 billion during July–March, FY 2017 against Rs 2,961.9 in the comparable period of FY 2016.[7]

Sovereign bonds

Pakistan is expected to sell a dual-tranche sovereign bond worth $750 million on 23 March 2006 that analysts said should ensure a favourable reception in the bond market. The 10-year tranche would be $500 million and the 30-year portion $250 million. Pricing is expected during New York trading hours on 23 March 2006. The sources said that the 10-year tranche was expected to be priced at around 100125%, while the longer-dated tranche was expected to be sold at around 70.875%, the top end of the indicative yield range of 3.75 to 10.875%.

The bonds, consisting of 10-year and 30-year tranches, had generated $1.5 billion in orders and a total size of as much as $1.25 billion had been anticipated for what is Pakistan's third foray into the international debt market since 2004.[177]

The Government of Pakistan has been raising money from the international debt market from time to time.

The details of amount raised in various issues are as follows:

1999 – $6230 million

2004 – $5000 million @ 6.75%[178]

2005 – $6000 million worth Islamic bonds[177][179]

2007 – $7500 million @ 6.875% worth Euro Bonds which were highly over subscribed[180]

Income distribution

  • Gini Index: 41
  • Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    • lowest 10%: 4.1%
    • highest 10%: 27.7% (1996)
    • middle 10%: 10.4%

See also

By province and administrative unit:



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  • Khan Ashan (2014). Economics of Pakistan, 9th edition. Pakistan.

Further reading

  • Gabol, Nasir (1990). Privatisation in Pakistan,. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. ISBN 92-64-15310-1.
  • Ahmad, Viqar and Rashid Amjad. 1986. The Management of Pakistan's Economy, 1947–82. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Ali, Imran. 1997. ‘Telecommunications Development in Pakistan’, in E.M. Noam (ed.), Telecommunications in Western Asia and the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Ali, Imran. 2001a. ‘The Historical Lineages of Poverty and Exclusion in Pakistan’. Paper presented at Conference on Realm, Society and Nation in South Asia. National University of Singapore.
  • Ali, Imran. 2001b. ‘Business and Power in Pakistan’, in A.M. Weiss and S.Z. Gilani (eds), Power and Civil Society in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Ali, Imran. 2002. ‘Past and Present: The Making of the State in Pakistan’, in Imran Ali, S. Mumtaz and J.L. Racine (eds), Pakistan: The Contours of State and Society. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Ali, Imran, A. Hussain. 2002. Pakistan National Human Development Report. Islamabad: UNDP.
  • Ali, Imran, S. Mumtaz and J.L. Racine (eds). 2002. Pakistan: The Contours of State and Society. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Amjad, Rashid. 1982. Private Industrial Investment in Pakistan, 1960–70. London: Cambridge University Press.
  • Andrus, J.R. and A.F. Mohammed. 1958. The Economy of Pakistan. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Bahl, R., & Cyan, M. (2009). Local Government Taxation in Pakistan (No. paper0909). International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Barrier, N.G. 1966. The Punjab Alienation of Land Bill of 1900. Durham, NC: Duke University South Asia Series.
  • Jahan, Rounaq. 1972. Pakistan: Failure in National Integration. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Kessinger, T.G. 1974. Vilyatpur, 1848–1968. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Kochanek, S.A. 1983. Interest Groups and Development: Business and Politics in Pakistan. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • LaPorte, Jr, Robert and M.B. Ahmad. 1989. Public Enterprises in Pakistan. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.
  • Latif, S.M. 1892. Lahore. Lahore: New Imperial Press, reprinted 1981, Lahore: Sandhu Printers.
  • Low, D.A. (ed.). 1991. The Political Inheritance of Pakistan. London: Macmillan.
  • Noman, Omar. 1988. The Political Economy of Pakistan. London: KPI.
  • Papanek, G.F. 1967. Pakistan's Development: Social Goals and Private Incentives. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Raychaudhuri, Tapan and Irfan Habib (eds). 1982. The Cambridge Economic History of India, 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • White, L.J. 1974. Industrial Concentration and Economic Power. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • Ziring, Lawrence. 1980. Pakistan: The Enigma of Political Development. Boulder, Colorado: Folkestone.
  • Ali, Imran. 1987. ‘Malign Growth? Agricultural Colonisation and the Roots of Backwardness in the Punjab’, Past and Present, 114
  • Ali, Imran. August 2002. ‘The Historical Lineages of Poverty and Exclusion in Pakistan’, South Asia, XXV(2).
  • Ali, Imran and S. Mumtaz. 2002. ‘Understanding Pakistan—The Impact of Global, Regional, National and Local Interactions’, in Imran Ali, S. Mumtaz and J.L. Racine (eds), Pakistan: the Contours of State and Society. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Hasan, Parvez. 1998. Pakistan's Economy at the Crossroads: Past Policies and Present Imperatives. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Hussain, Ishrat. 1999. Pakistan: The Economy of an Elitist State. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Khan, Shahrukh Rafi. 1999. Fifty Years of Pakistan's Economy: Traditional Topics and Contemporary Concerns. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Kibria, Ghulam. 1999. Shattered Dream: Understanding Pakistan's Development. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Kukreja, Veena. 2003. Contemporary Pakistan: Political Processes, Conflicts and Crises. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
  • Zaidi, S. Akbar. 1999. Issues in Pakistan's Economy. Karachi: Oxford University Press
  • Faheem, Khan. 2010. Issues in Pakistan's Economy. Peshawar:

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